"[Lot of 3] Map No. 1 From San Francisco Bay to the Plains of Los Angeles... [and] Map No. 1 From San Francisco Bay to the Northern Boundary of California... [and] Map No. 2 From the Northern Boundary of California to the Columbia River...", U.S. Railroad Surveys
Subject: California & Oregon
Period: 1854-55 (dated)
Publication: U.S. Pacific Railroad Surveys
Color: Black & White
During the 1850s, the U.S. government sponsored an extensive series of expeditions designed to gather information on the vast new territories that had been acquired in western North America. The discovery of gold in California further stimulated westward traffic and heightened the need for a faster and more convenient way to bring the far-flung parts of the country together. In 1853 Congress commissioned the Army's Topographic Bureau to conduct a series of surveys to find a suitable route for a transcontinental railroad. There were six major expeditions; five of them covered the area between the Great Plains and west coast, and the sixth explored the coastal states of California and Oregon. All of these expeditions were accompanied by naturalists and artists to document the landscape, flora and fauna along the route.
The reports, maps and lithographs were published in the 13 volume report "Explorations and Surveys to ascertain the most practicable and economical route for a Railroad from the Mississippi river to the Pacific Ocean."
A. Map No. 1 From San Francisco Bay to the Plains of Los Angeles from Explorations and Survey Made Under the Direction of the Hon. Jefferson Davis Secretary of War..., by Lieut. John G. Parke, dated 1854-55 (34.9 x 28.1"). Wheat dedicates more than a full page to what he calls "a map of the greatest interest, not only for its route, which is that of the Southern Pacific Coast Line, but because of its showing of ranchos and missions along the route." The proposed line is shown from San Jose south to the Pubela de Los Angeles, San Bernardino and through the San Gorgonio Pass on its way east. Remarkable detail along the route including well rendered hachure depicting elevation. The Spanish Trail, mail route to Salt Lake City and Whipple's route are shown passing through Cajon Pass and on to the Mojave River.
B. Map No. 1 From San Francisco Bay to the Northern Boundary of California..., by Lieuts. R.S. Williamson and H.L. Abbot, dated 1855 (23.3 x 27.3"). This map is quite detailed along the coast from San Francisco Bay to the northern border with Oregon with place names, watershed and fine hachure in the mountainous areas. The balance of the map is mostly in skeletal format with an area to the west noted as not explored 'instrumentally.' Details numerous explorations and names the survey crews. Locates the Emigrant Trail plus the earlier explorations of Warner and Williamson in 1849, and Wessell in 1852. Notes the place Warner was killed in 1849.
C. Map No. 2 From the Northern Boundary of California to the Columbia River..., by Lieuts. R.S. Williamson and H.L. Abbot, dated 1855 (23.1 x 27.3"). Theis map is from the surveys of Williamson and Abbot. This map covers the region from the Siskoyou Range and Klamath Lakes north to above the Columbia River. Finely engraved with much topographical and watershed detail including fine hachure throughout mountainous area. Locates the Emigrant Road, unexplored regions, various routes of the surveying parties, the historical routes of Fremont and Warner, the first settlements and much more.
References: Wheat (TMW) #852, 881, and 882.
Issued folding, with light toning along the folds, minor foxing, a few extraneous creases, and short separations along the folds. Map No. 1 (from San Francisco) has a narrow left margin and a very short tear at left that has been closed on verso with archival tape. Map No. 2 h as two short tears at left that have also been closed with archival tape.